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Luka's Taproom & Lounge
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Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
phone: (510) 451-4677
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Finally made it, after being turned off by the weekend cover charge and crowds. The interior is dingier than I expected, which I liked. I didn't make it back to the pool table or the vintage arcade consoles. Wife and I were seated at a table for two by the window, along with most of the other couples, which afforded me a good view of the condos across the street. Once the sunlight broke through the clouds I realized that the black paint across the bottom of the window worked like a dark mirror, so I got a better idea of what was going on in the place. Nice local photos, great diverse crowd, and a good mix of people there for the scene, the food, and the beer.
First, the beer. Maredsous 8 and Brugse Zot on tap (good sign), served a little cold but in the right glassware. Friendly waitstaff who understand you when you order either a Duchesse de Bourgogne or an Old Speckled Hen. Come early, as the crowds seem to overwhelm the staff. Good food, very fresh, with local ingredients. I had the veggie pot pie, which was full of seasonal veg and served with perfectly-steamed spinach. My wife had the mac 'n' cheese, which was better than expected, and served with very fresh blue lake beans.
If you're looking for a beer destination in Oakland, there are better options (Trappist, Barclay's, etc.). If you're looking for cocktail bar there are better options (Lucky Lounge, Easy). If you're looking for food there are better options. However, the location, the vibe, and the crowd, combined with all three of the above, make Luka's worth a try.
05-04-2009 01:53:00 |
More by edub
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
After going to this place with some friends of one of the owners, I can see why this is a relatively hard place to rate. I don't know if I'd honestly consider this a beer destination. It seems to suffer a bit from an identity crisis- is it a beer bar? A hot cocktails establishment? A nice, albeit trendy restaurant? The problem is that it's all of these at once in a space that is too small and crowded with too few staff to make all of those work. It takes forever to get a beer because the staff is too busy making cocktails or explaining the selections to casual beer drinkers, and its simply too packed, hectic, and noisy to really enjoy a dinner here. Its definitely a hipster scene, but the food is quite good and the beer selection isn't bad at all- just not mindblowing. It was an interesting stop, but not a place I'd ever frequent regularly.
10-30-2008 20:47:00 |
More by Georgiabeer
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$$
Luka's is a good example of what can go right and wrong with an upscale "destination" bar.
The Beer. Although a full bar complete with a wide array of hard liquor, it does try to emphasize its taps. There are about 15-20 selections at any time, the majority Belgian along with some German, Czech & French imports (most being off-the-cuff) and a few US micros as well. They come served in their proper glassware, poured correctly. This alone is reason to stop by Luka's at least once.
The Atmosphere. Very stylish, warm, cosmopolitan while still feeling homey. One side is the bar & dining room, the next is a dance floor, the back has pool table & video games. Along with the local artwork, you shouldn't find yourself bored while at Luka's.
The Location. Something like this was desperately needed for the area, previously a ghost-town at night.
Service can be good at times, but very rude at others. Servers have been known to utter curtly to a customer, only to turn their back when the customer attempts a response (seen this first-hand). I suppose many of the staff feel this place is too cool for its clientele (of which there are many) and we should be happy they allow us to eat & drink there. Not cool. The bartenders I've encountered personally were all friendly, tho.
The Food. California cuisine gone wrong. Heavy on the decoration & price, light on the portions. The only edible thing I've gotten here is the baked mac & cheese which came witha side of string beans (for $12).
It gets extremely crowded at nights, so be prepared. Best time to come here is the daytime, when you can easily get a nice pour and not have to flag the bartender down for another.
In summary, a chi-chi bar with great beer selection catering to those trying to make Oakland the "new San Francisco" and appease those who think the town is all darkies & crime. Worth checking out for a beer you may not have found on tap otherwise.
02-12-2008 03:11:25 |
More by Natural510
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
Went here with some friends today for Sunday brunch. First off-this place is great for everyone-young, old, hip, and the uncool.
Walking in the bar is dead ahead with a dozen, or so, beers on tap and a dozen or more in bottles. The beer selection here is tilted towards Belgium.
The service here was top notch and the food fantastic. I had the Oxtail Hash and my wife a great salad and some seafood fritters.
We weren't going to order a beer because we were heading to The Trappist afterwards. However, we ended up having a pint-my wife and I had a Maresdous 8 and my friend had Laguanitas Brown Shugga, all on tap.
I love the food and the beer selection here-we didn't have a wait and the we were very pleased with our experience.
01-14-2008 04:20:36 |
More by bradybeer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$
This place had some very impressive beers on tap. At the time I was there they had Delerium Nocternum on draft. There were several others available as well. The atmosphere was "hip" - perhaps a little too much so. We also had trouble getting a table. Once there, getting service was even harder. The food was ok, but nothing special.
At the bar however, I was served quickly and with a smile. Overall, I would have to recommend this place if only for a knowledgeable bartender and good Belgian selection.
09-06-2006 20:36:02 |
More by barefootbrewer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$$
Looking at the other reviews, there's only a few things to add from my experiences. They do have a constantly rotating selection of tap beers and always have 5 or 6 Belgian's on tap that being the main reason to come here (they also rotate in seasonal beers, I had the N'ice Chouffe this last xmas). The other tap selections of micro's and imports are quite nice, but I rarely get that far. All the beers are pricey, so if you're not looking for Belgian's, I'd rather hit Cato's, Ben 'n Nicks or Jupiter. The food is pretty decent. The Belgian fries are excellent and the other appetizers just are not worth the money. The entrees are good, but way pricey. If it indeed the beer you seek, stop by early (they open at 5:30 pm daily), since after 8 on the weekends as it tends to get LOUD and overrun by the hipsters crowding the bar to get their PBR, cosmo's, or whatever other trendy shit that it takes the bartenders way too long to make and prevents them from doing their primary job of serving YOU beer.
It's a good place to go if you are in town or live in the east bay, since it's close to home and the drive or Bart/Muni/walk trip to the Toronado can be a little arduous for the immediate needs.
05-23-2006 02:33:57 |
More by fartingdog
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5
This place is a hidden gem on the outskirts of downtown oakland. A friend took me here to sample fine belgians.
This place is huge, there is a dining/bar area, a dark spacious lounge, and a game room. Overall, it is was too crowded for comfort. I ended up waiting in the lounge for about half an hour until someone left to take their place. For the amount of room in the lounge, there aren't many seats or couches. Each area is very different, the lounge has a hipster kinda vibe with cool art on the walls and deep reds. The dining/bar area is hectic and cramped. I would love to come to this place on a chill day and try it again with more legroom.
The service was friendly, but spread very very thin. Not enough to handle the crowd for sure. She got our order wrong and we ended up having a free round. Is that good service or bad? her beer knowledge was good, but she was waitress, not a beer lover.
The selection was damn good. Probably the best I have seen in the East Bay. On tap they had 16 beers, ranging from banal (stella artois) to interesting (drake's denoginizer) to extraordinary (tripel karmeliet). Their bottled menu was far better with a definite focus on belgian ales. Really impressive- they had fantome, girardin gueze (at 15.00 though), cherish lambic. The prices ranged from fair to rape, but generally the draught was fair and bottled was expensive. The few beers I had were served properly and the waitress was cool. Their food seemed really good but I didn't have any. Look for a followup in the near future.
04-09-2005 19:54:49 |
More by axisjones
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Good beer selection... bottles of Rochefort 8 for $6.00!! Nice atmosphere too. This place is big. There is a good sized bar (~20 stools and a couple of tables by the bar), medium sized dining area (~15 booth style tables), game room (pool table, pinball, classic video games) and another lounge room (comfy chairs). I've been there for lunch twice and it was crowded with office workers both times. I have had dinner there a few times too, it was pretty full, but I have never had to wait for a table. The food is quite good, I usually get the mussels ($10) and fries ($5). I have also had the pork sandwich for lunch, which was excellent ($7, comes with fries). A superb addition to the Oakland bar/restaurant scene. Small parking lot in back, but ample street parking. I think at night they have DJs, but I have never witnessed this.
01-23-2005 20:24:22 |
More by 3sheetstothewind
Luka's Taproom & Lounge in Oakland, CA